Modulation Microbiota in Infancy

Speaker: F. Indrio Presented at: 2015 Europediatrics 7th Biennial EPA/UNEPSA Congress


It is now becoming clear that the early postnatal environment, including nutrition, is also a vital determinant of adult health. Environmental exposures such as early infant diet are believed to make an impact on the development and function of gut microbiota. The intestinal microbiota plays a critical role in the establishment and maintenance of healthy immune responses. Delayed colonisation of the infant gut with commensal bacteria or alterations in the microbiota profile are suggested to be strong risk factors for the development of immunemediated chronic disorders such as allergic and autoimmune diseases. Solid scientific arguments suggest that immune deviances later in life could be the consequence of an inadequate bacterial pressure on the intestinal mucosa at the early stage. While the role of epigenetics in postnatal programming of the neonate remains to be demonstrated, there appears to be a window in which infants are vulnerable. Restoring the microbiota profile with a single bacteria species or prebiotic may be effective in the prevention or treatment of allergic and inflammatory diseases, but only if this occurs during the neonatal period. The exact mechanisms of action for probiotic have yet to be fully understood, but it is hypothesised that the biological function of probiotics may be a result of epigenetic modifications that may explain the wide range of the observed effectsDriving a change of colonization during the first weeks of life through giving prebiotic or probiotic may promote an improvement in intestinal permeability; visceral sensitivity and mast cell density and functional nutrient administration may represent a new strategy for preventing disease later in life.